IBM flat-screen the largest commercial display yet

Flat-screen monitors grew up today when supplier Trident Microsystems announced it is selling the largest commercial TFT LCD screen available.

The IBM-badged 16.1-inch colour flat-screen monitor (around £5,000 + VAT) can display 16.7 million colours at 1280 x 1024 resolution and has a choice of cards which allow it to support output from either a PC's monitor port, or an RS6000 or Sun Sparc Station. The screen aims to replace 17-inch or 18-inch CRT monitors, and major applications of it include radar, mapping and consumer kiosks.

The screens are expensive because of the manufacturing process involved and the specialist demand for the monitors. "I'm talking low volume and at this sort of price, I'm happy to sell 10 at a time," said Mike Burke, TFT product manager for Trident. Burke said IBM has been making the screen for a year, and has improved factory yields significantly in that time - yields are now at 80 or 90 per cent, he claimed. But being specialised pieces of kit, the factories produce them in very low numbers, making only 500 a month around the start this year.

Separately, Burke said Trident also supplies 10.4-inch 640 x 480 screen, and 12.1-inch 1024 x 768 IBM screens. The 12.1-inch sells for around the same price as the 10.4-inch model (£1,000 + VAT). However, he maintained that IBM stopped production of the 10.4-inch model last week, and Hitachi did the same.

Trident Microsystems can be contacted by telephone on 01737-765900.

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